A Timeline of Belfast

By Tim Lambert

Early Belfast

1611 Sir Arthur Chichester is granted land at Belfast. A small town grows up there.

1613 Belfast is made a corporation

Late 17th Century Belfast trades with the North American colonies. Tobacco is imported from there and sugar is imported from the West Indies. Belfast has a population of about 1,500-2,000 but it is swelled by French Protestants who introduce linen weaving.

1680 Belfast gains a piped water supply (for those who can pay)

1682 The first bridge is built over the Lagan

1686 Each householder is supposed to hang a lantern outside his house at night during the winter months

1700 Belfast has a population of about 2,500

1708 Belfast Castle burns down

1732 Belfast gains its first newspaper

1752 Belfast gains its first bank

1768 Belfast gains its first theatre

1773 17 million yards of linen is exported this year from Belfast

1777 Cotton spinning is introduced into Belfast

1780 Belfast has a population of about 13,000

1788 The White Linen Hall is built

1793 Shipbuilding begins in Belfast

Modern Belfast

1800 A Paving Board is formed to pave the streets of Belfast

1815 Belfast gains a hospital

1819 St George’s Church is built

1823 Belfast gains gas light

1839 A railway is built to Lisburn

1842 Belfast is made a borough

1843 Queens Bridge is built

1844 St Malachy’s Church is built

1848 Cholera strikes Belfast

1851 Clarendon Dock is built

1862 Ulster Hall is built. Harland and Wolff Shipyard opens.

1869 Albert Memorial Clock is built

1872 Horse-drawn trams run in Belfast

1888 Belfast is made a city

1890 Belfast Public Library is built. Albert Bridge is built.

1895 Grand Opera House is built

1896 St George’s Market is built

1901 Belfast has a population of 349,000

1904 Electric trams replace the horse-drawn ones

1906 City Hall is built

1911 The Titanic is launched in Belfast

1941 Belfast is bombed

1965 Kings Hall Conference Centre is built

1966 Queen Elizabeth II Bridge opens

1980 Crescent Arts Centre opens

1990 Castle Court Centre and Westwood Centre open

1997 Waterfront Hall opens

1998 Forestside Shopping Centre opens

2000 Odyssey Arena opens

2008 Victoria Square opens